24 september 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a video conference on relocating tenants living in dilapidated and hazardous housing in Tynda

Vladimir Putin

At a video conference on relocating tenants living in dilapidated and hazardous housing in Tynda

“We must fully resolve this problem in general and for residents of Tynda in particular. We must eliminate shantytowns and upgrade the housing, utilities, and public facilities of this town. We must build new, decent residential areas. I believe that all this work can be finished in four years.”

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Good afternoon, Mr Kozhemyako (to Oleg Kozhemyako, Governor of the Amur Region).

Oleg Kozhemyako: Good afternoon, Mr Putin.

Vladimir Putin: As you know, some time ago I visited a number of our country's regions, mainly in the East, Siberia, the North, Norilsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, your Amur Region and other regions of Siberia and the Far East. We discussed many problems, but one problem was very pressing for all these regions - dilapidated housing, and relocating people from dilapidated housing, from the North, as we say.

The Housing and Utilities Fund was set up in 2007 and began work in 2008 precisely to solve these problems. It was established to resettle people living in hazardous housing and to carry out repairs where they have not been done for decades. In general, the fund is working well enough. During that time we eliminated 3.1 million square metres of hazardous housing and rehoused 210,700 people living there. We have performed major repairs on another 130 million square metres of housing, which directly improved the living conditions of 11 million people, 11 million!

I would like to note that the government did not allocate a kopeck from the federal budget for these purposes from 1993 to 2002.

Today we will touch upon one more problem, which is pressing and which either remains unresolved, unfortunately, or insufficient manpower and resources were devoted to resolving such an urgent and massive problem. I am talking about the relocation of people from unfit housing in the Baikal-Amur railway area. I have discussed this problem with governors during my tour of the region and it turns out that the problem has a distinctive feature. It boils down to the fact that a considerable part of the people is living in housing that is not even classified as housing, even hazardous housing, when the undeniable fact is that it certainly is hazardous. Nevertheless, since it is temporary dwelling and has not been registered as residential housing of any kind, these people are actually deprived of the possibility of solving their housing problems under current procedures and legislation. Populated areas with this kind of unfit housing are situated in six eastern regions of the Russian Federation. They are primarily found in eastern Siberia and the Far East.

As I have mentioned, in the past the government essentially ignored the issue of resettling people from the area of Baikal-Amur railway as an individual issue. For the first time we have earmarked money, half a billion roubles in the 2011 budget, to address this issue.

Of course, this is nowhere near enough to fully solve the problem. Meanwhile, in Tynda, which has always been considered the administrative centre of Baikal-Amur railway, the situation is most desperate.

According to the information supplied to us by the governor, 6,600 people out of the entire town population of 38,000 are living in unacceptable conditions.

It is logical to use this town as a model to work out the process of comprehensive development, renovation and revival of settlements and towns in the railway zone.

Today I will ask the head of the Russian Railways company, Vladimir Yakunin, to report on the plans to use the Baikal-Amur railway, although it is clear that the railway is in demand and has good prospects. It means that people there will have jobs and should live in decent conditions.

We must fully resolve this problem in general and for residents of Tynda in particular. We must eliminate shantytowns and upgrade the housing, utilities, and public facilities of this town. We must build new, decent residential areas. I believe that all this work can be finished in four years

Naturally, those who want to move to other cities of the region, primarily pensioners, will be given the opportunity.

According to estimates, this kind of comprehensive solution to the problem of hazardous housing in Tynda will require 6.4 billion roubles in total. And we will find this money. The federal government will provide 4.482 billion roubles and 1.928 billion will come from the budget of the Amur Region, on the governor's initiative. Mr Kozhemyako, please tell us about that decision in detail during today's meeting. I will add that federal funds are to be taken from various sources and then transferred as subsidies to the Amur Region to resolve the housing problem for Tynda residents. I instruct the regional administration to perform a thorough inventory check of the housing stock in Tynda. And, of course, there can be no tolerance of any predatory or dishonest practice, and we must reach every family and not forget anybody.

The aid must be targeted and effective regardless of the housing status: whether it is permanent, temporary, departmental or any other. I can't imagine what sort of things they invented in the past.

As a follow-up to the inventory, the governor shall deliver a detailed step-by-step plan, indicating who and on what conditions shall receive housing assistance. I ask Russian Railways to play an active role in this effort, because Russian Railways is a city-forming enterprise in this region and, of course, should meet its social obligations to its workers, both current and former employees. In addition, the experience gained in Tynda will be extended to other towns and townships of the Baikal-Amur railway; moreover, as I said in the beginning, we have started to allocate funds - modest though they may be during the initial phase - to solve this problem. That is why I am waiting for proposals on how to solve this pressing problem from the heads of these regions of the Russian Federation.

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Vladimir Putin: Mr Kozhemyako, as I have said, I am waiting for a concrete plan from you, spelling out who will receive assistance from you, on what conditions and when. Please submit the plan to the government and have it endorsed at the Ministry of Regional Development as soon as possible. We will start allocating the funds needed to solve this problem beginning on the 1st of January 2011, and next year you will receive one billion roubles or possible more for this purpose. I repeat, we will solve the problem in a comprehensive manner throughout all the residential areas of the Baikal-Amur railway, but this work will begin as a pilot project in Tynda, because the largest number of people in need of better housing is living there.

If you think that you have the necessary resources already, you may begin this year, and we will be prepared to provide some funds for you from the federal budget this year.

Оleg Kozhemyako: I would like to express my deep gratitude on behalf of all the people in the region. We will not delay allocating funds from the regional budget. Winter is coming. We will promptly begin building housing for which design estimates are ready.

Vladimir Putin: Give us the full plan. We need to understand ...

Оleg Kozhemyako: We will have the plan ready.

Vladimir Putin: We need to understand how you will carry out this work. And the plan should be made public. People must know what principles will guide the work of the authorities - in this case the regional authorities with the government's support.

Оleg Kozhemyako: We will draw up the plan, Mr Putin, as quickly as possible. I wish you all the best.

Vladimir Putin: All the best. Good luck!